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Federal grant will upgrade Mabton firefighting gear

MABTON - New firefighting equipment and portable radios for use in the field are among the items the Mabton Volunteer Fire Department will be purchasing with a $25,968 Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters Grant.

"We're excited to learn Mabton's fire department has received the grant," said Mayor David Conradt. "I'm sure they (the firemen) will be using the money for much needed protective equipment," he said.

In fact, that is exactly what the department plans to do with the windfall, said Mabton Volunteer Fire Chief Bill Roettger.

Roettger, who applied for the funds from the Homeland Security's web site, was pleased to learn that U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings had announced this past Monday that Mabton was among the thousands of the nation's small fire departments to receive federal assistance.

"We're happy to be getting the money in one lump sum," Roettger said.

"It would take us a long time to raise the funds for the safety equipment we need for the safety of our volunteers," he said.

Roettger said the 21-person Mabton department will be using the money to purchase six self-contained breathing apparatus units, which cost about $4,000 each.

"We also plan to buy three portable radios and four pagers for use in the field to help firefighters stay in contact at fire scenes," he explained.

All told, Congress provided $744 million for the Assistance to Firefighters grants this year, according to Hastings.

He said the grant money can be used for such safety issues as training, equipment, and fire station and facility modifications.

Roettger said he is glad he took the time to seek the federal grant via the Internet. "We took a shot hoping we would get a piece of the pie," he said. "And it paid off."

Roettger said the City of Mabton will be kicking in a portion of the necessary funds to fully fund the department's improvement project.

While the bulk of the money will be coming from the grant, the city will be contributing more than $3,000, he explained.

. Julia Hart can be contacted at

(509) 837-4500, or you can e-mail her at jhart@eaglenewspapers.com

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